Monday, 12 May 2014

The Guardian News: Politicians joined by Ruby Wax as parliament pauses for meditation

On 7th May 2014, The Guardian online posted an article in the News>Society>Mental health section, titled: Politicians joined by Ruby Wax as parliament pauses for meditation.

Here are some key quotes:
"Sceptical MPs have joked it is becoming "a cult in parliament", but mindfulness meditation stepped into the political mainstream on Wednesday when MPs and peers gathered at Westminster, closed their eyes and went silent for a minute.

Joined by the comedian Ruby Wax, now the poster girl for the benefits of mindfulness to overcome mental health problems, politicians including former ministers Lord Haworth and Jim Fitzpatrick straightened their spines and focused on their breath at the launch of an all party group to explore the potential for mindfulness in health, education, criminal justice.
It was just a taste of what 95 MPs, peers and parliament staff have already experienced on mindfulness meditation courses inside parliament. The practice – based on Buddhist meditation but updated for secular users – is catching on across a stressed-out Britain.
Its popularity has spawned more than 800 courses nationwide and a Headspace meditation app with 50,000 paying users. The most popular guide book is selling 2,000 copies a week and mindfulness based cognitive therapy is now recommended by the NHS to prevent relapses into depression. Now politicians are falling back on it too.

Lord Andrew Stone told the meeting he used it to steady himself after he became "scared" when he was dispatched to Cairo for meetings with Egypt's military leadership earlier this year.
"I didn't know how to cope," he said. "But these practices made a massive difference. I was talking to some pretty serious people there, but I was being compassionate to all sides."

Co-chair of the group, Tracey Crouch MP, one of only a small number of MPs to publicly admit using anti-depressants, revealed mindfulness practice had helped her come off the drugs.
"I have given much better speeches in the House since I started mindfulness," she said. "We genuinely can turn the UK into a mindful nation."
But there are concerns. "There is still no quality control and there is no standards people need to stick to to deliver this important therapy," said Dr Florian Ruths, clinical lead for mindfulness at the Maudsely hospital. "I worry that quite vulnerable people with quite serious problems might being going to courses led by people who aren't aware of the consequences."

Nevertheless it was the testimony of a group of school children, thousands of whom have been exposed to the practice in the last few years, that most moved the politicians."

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